Carbon Fiber or Wood for bow upgrade???

December 24, 2018, 2:24 PM · Hi Everyone! Hope everyone is having a Blessed holiday.

I'm due for a bow upgrade, as I've been feeling the limits of my current, ~$100 CF bow when it comes to ease of tone and handling. I'm shopping in the $300-$800 bow range and I really don't know what to expect when it comes to the quality of CF bows vs Pernambuco or other wood bows. Could i get a better quality CF bow than wood in that price range, or vice versa? I also plan to get a baroque bow in the $200 range, as i love playing Bach and Telemann Fantasias, but that would be later on. I play on a newer chinese workshop violin with Warchal Strings. Any guidance or bow recommendations are greatly appreciated as I am currently teaching myself! Thanks

Replies (7)

December 24, 2018, 3:09 PM · Bows are just so subjective. Go to your local Violin Shop, try a bunch of bows, make notes, don't actually purchase anything till you've played them more than a few times. You can also bring a friend who listens and or plays for you to listen.

The bow is important but it is also very subjective. What makes your violin sing might make mine cough.

Edited: December 24, 2018, 4:26 PM · Thierno, bearing in mind that I am not concerned with the top range of CF bows running into 4 figures, but lower priced ones that do have a useful place. I have such a CF bow that I use regularly for my folk band playing, outdoor gigs, or the occasional theater gig if the playing area is cramped, and would not hesitate to use it in an emergency elsewhere if one of my wood bows became damaged. The bow is well balanced, plays easily and draws a big tone but does not have the tonal quality needed for chamber orchestra or most symphonic playing, and certainly not for a string quartet.

Perhaps the above points may help you towards a decision.

December 24, 2018, 6:18 PM · I've not found anything but junk under $1000 in wood bows. You'd probably be better off buying a CF bow, which will last you a lifetime as a spare when you upgrade again.
Edited: December 25, 2018, 4:31 PM · Thierno, if you are from Slovenia, thumbs up.

In this price range - CF for sure. Hpe you are not buyng one in Ljbljana, though, as noone has more than a couple on stock... I bought mine in NY City... tried some 50 bows and found THE ONE. And even after playing bows that go for 15K - I can say, 300 usd stick can do really amazing stuff.

But you need to be picky and try a bunch, as the quality varies a lot in this pricerange.

December 25, 2018, 6:09 PM · There are some decent pernambuco bows made in Brazil for around 800.
December 25, 2018, 7:28 PM · I have bought a couple of higher end Chinese bows off eBay that were shockingly nice and great sounding. Paid about $150-$200 for them. I use my Codabow Diamond GX that I love. And lastly I have a gorgeous Grimm pernambuco bow that’s worth about 1K that is absolutely fantastic. You can get a nice good sounding bow in your price range!
December 26, 2018, 7:01 AM · Thierno - What George said is really the only right answer. Christopher has pointed out, and I concur (owning a couple), that there are some good Brazilian pernambuco bows near the top of your range, at least at my luthier. However, you need to figure out what kind of bow, in your price range, sounds best on your violin. So, if you can, go with George's advice.

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